Child Development

This resource on child development and developmentally appropriate activities is a fantastic tool to incorporate into occupational therapy interventions or play based learning with children. Occupational therapists are child development experts and the OT focusses on holistic development of a child as it is integral to occupational therapy interventions to help children achieve functioning, independence, and occupational performance through therapeutic activities. This page is a place to find resources for everything from development of handwriting, to when a child should be able to dress themselves.  

One of my favorite courses in undergrad was my “Childhood Development” course.  It lead to a love of other great topics like Abnormal Development, Behavioral Development, and even Kinesiology and Anatomy and Physiology.  I just love learning (and now sharing!) about how kids typically grow and develop over time.  Of course, every child is different, but there are typical developmental stages that every child goes through in some manner.  

Child development

We cover a variety of developmental areas below. If you think there may be a need for support for your child, be sure to check out our resource on different types of pediatric therapy.

Fine Motor development and child development information for occupational therapists.

holistic development of a child

Occupational therapy professionals look at the whole child. We help children (and all stages of the lifespan) to ensure that all aspects of daily occupations, or the everyday “jobs” that we do are addressed and fully maximized.

By taking a holistic look at children, we can address every aspect of a child’s life, including daily tasks, environments like school, home, community, and each spoke of the wellness wheel. Occupational balance and integration occurs among all of the components of function and independence. OTs address what is meaningful and important to children, their families, and each aspect of daily life. Just like in the wellness wheel, each piece is important and works together to create an integrated and well-balanced lifestyle.

Holistic development of a child refers to the development of the “whole child” as they develop in physical, emotional social, cognitive skills so they are able to complete the aspects of each environment that they are involved in, in order to play, learn, care for themselves, and interact with others. Holistic development is a way to look at every aspect of the child in every environment and OT does this through the child’s most important occupation: play.

Refer to this resource on occupational therapy and play for more information. We also cover in this post, the incredible power of play as a tool for child developmental progression in a holistic manner.

You’ll find activities and crafts to meet every age, and typical timelines of what should happen when in a child’s growth.  This is an ongoing resource, so be sure to pin it, bookmark it, or save it on your desktop and stop back often to see what else has been added!


Fine Motor Development

Scooping, pouring, transferring beads and developing fine motor skills and hand dominance in Toddlers, Preschoolers, and school-aged kids. Plus learning ideas to use in scooping activities.  From an Occupational Therapist.  Child Development of grasp using building blocks Development of scissor skills Development of precision of grasp and release

Self Care Development

 Child's development of playPrerequisites that are necessary for kids (or adults!) to effectively and efficiently use tools in fine motor and self-care tasks, like scissor use, handwriting, hair brushing, self-feeding, tooth brushing, and more.  From an Occupational Therapist. Ages of typical development for children in getting dressed. Developmental milestones for independence.

Visual Processing Development

 Visual Motor Integration developmental milestones hand eye coordination

Looking for Baby learning and play ideas?  We’ve got all of our activities for 0-2 years organized in one place.

Looking for Toddler learning and play ideas?  All of our activities aimed at this age range.

Looking for Kindergarten learning and play ideas?  You can find all of our activities and crafts for the 5-6 year old age range.

Need ideas for First Grade learning and play? Look around for fun ideas for kids aged 6-7.

Developmental milestones and functional child development in kids.

More child development resources

The resources here cover many aspects of child development. For specifics related to regressions in toddlers or other areas, check out our post on sensory red flags.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to